Prashant Shetty, Director-Commercial, Metal Cutting, Kennametal India Ltd.
Kennametal is a technology leader in materials science, tooling, and wear-resistant solutions, serving 80,000+ customers in over 60 countries across the aerospace, earthworks, energy, general engineering, and transportation industries. Its metal cutting division delivers world-class metalworking solutions and services through two trusted brands: Kennametal and WIDIA. Machine Tools World speaks to Prashant Shetty, Director-Commercial, Kennametal India to get the hang of the cutting-edge technologies the company offers to critical industry segments, and its future thrusts. Excerpts:
Kennametal is an industrial technology leader in materials science, tooling, and wear-resistant solutions, serving 80,000+ customers in over 60 countries across the aerospace, earthworks, energy, general engineering, and transportation industries.
Our metal cutting segment delivers world-class metalworking solutions and services through our two trusted brands: Kennametal and WIDIA. Through these brands, we offer a complete portfolio of precision-engineered products as well as custom solution services. With a wide range of turning, milling, hole-making, threading, and tooling systems products, championed by a skilled network of authorized distributor partners and spares support, our customers can find everything they need from a single source. Apart from Metal Cutting, Kennametal offers industry leading wear solutions, engineered components and earth cutting and construction tools through the Infrastructure segment to a wide range of industries. We also have the Machining Solutions Group, which manufactures special purpose machines, tool and cutter grinding machines, as well as fixturing and tooling solutions through the brand, WIDMA.
Kennametal India Limited is Kennametal Inc’s Indian subsidiary located in Bengaluru, with a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility spread over 29 acres, known for producing high quality products that are exported across Europe and Asia. We have end-to-end manufacturing expertise, right from powder to finished products that enables us to achieve consistency in quality and performance. Our RD&E team is constantly innovating in the core domain of material science as well as application support to enhance product capabilities that meet the present and future needs of our customers. Specific to Metal Cutting, Kennametal also has ‘Rapid Response Centers’ offering reconditioning services and localized production of round tool drills and end mills. With repeated reconditioning, tooling costs can be reduced by 50% or more in many cases, compared to the cost of purchasing new tools. In India, we have reconditioning centers at five locations with easy access to customers and a quick turnaround time.
We serve a diversified customer base across the aerospace, earthworks, energy, general engineering, and transportation industries. We take cognizance of customers’ needs, not just for each segment but also the tiers within themand offer the best solutions through our brands Kennametal and WIDIA. For instance, an OEM customer may prefer tools that facilitate mass production, hence high productivity, and maximum tool life. On the other hand, a Tier 1 customer would prioritize flexibility and versatility in operations, in addition to performance. Our portfolio is designed to address such varying needs of different industries and customer types.
We see the electric vehicle market as an area of opportunity. We are always working in tandem with our customers to anticipate their needs and offer innovative solutions to help them be more productive, efficient, and competitive. As automotive manufacturers expand their offerings of hybrid and electric vehicles, we are well positioned to support their evolving needs. For example, Kennametal leveraged the design flexibility of additive manufacturing to develop an innovative 3D-printed stator bore tool for electric motor machining. This tool remarkably weighs only half that of the conventionally manufactured version, while still meeting the roundness, accuracy and surface finish conditions for aluminum motor body boring.
Owing to these features, the tool has recently been recognized with the MM Maschinen Market’s Best of Industry Award in the Production and Manufacturing category. This award is a testimony to the point I mentioned earlier about innovating for the Electric Vehicles industry. Our 3D printed stator bore tool is not just a prototype or novelty—it is in use by automotive manufacturers today. Motivated by the success, we will continue to leverage innovation to support our customers as they ramp production of hybrid and electric vehicles.
WIDIA™ has recently launched the WCE4 solid end milling series that features an advanced geometry to achieve material versatility for end users seeking a cost – effective solution. This new product supports batch production for customers looking for performance without compromising on tool life. The unequal flute spacing helps to cut harmonics and reduce vibration, generating higher cutting stability for better surface finish. The flutes are also optimized for improved chip evacuation and strength. The advanced PVD coating offers improved performance for medium to high-speed applications in Steel, Stainless Steel and Cast Iron. This can also be used in machining Heat Resistance Super Alloys (HRSA) as an alternate choice. Everything put together, the WCE4 design helps perform slotting, side milling, ramping, 3D machining, dynamic milling, etc.- all with one tool. Another recent innovation targeted specifically at the Aerospace segment is Kennametal’s new HARVI Ultra 8X helical milling cutter, designed to incorporate features that enable highest productivity at the lowest possible cost per edge. It can consistently remove high volumes of titanium per minute, with significantly improved tool life. The flutes and the coolant nozzles assure maximum chip flow, thus removing high quantum of material without chips getting jammed, while double sided inserts facilitate lower cost per edge, but with the ability to increase speeds and feeds beyond what was previously possible.
Our innovation helps solve our customers’ biggest challenges so they can deliver the products and services their customers rely on every day. We have a Research, Development and Engineering center (RD&E) at our India headquarters in Bengaluru that works closely with the global organization to continuously develop and commercialize both new and improved offerings suited for the Indian market. The RD&Ecenter, recognized by the DSIR (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research), is equipped with advanced labs and testing equipment managed by a team of engineering and technical experts.
At Kennametal, sustainability is an integral part of doing business with a consciousness towards the ecosystem in which we operate. Our Bengaluru manufacturing facility, for example, has adopted various measures to ensure minimum impact on the environment. For instance, close to 80% of our energy comes from solar, we ensure optimum water and waste recycling to reduce freshwater consumption significantly, and our emissions are well within the stipulated environmental norms
We expect demand for drilling and boring tools to grow, driven by markets such as General Engineering, Transportation, Aerospace and Energy. The requirements for advanced cutting tools will rise progressively in the coming years, especially since efficient use of cutting tools directly impacts the overall cost of manufacturing.
The shift in component material sets the tone for the development of cutting tools besides other factors like productivity and cost. Advancements like Nano Composite coatings and development of new substrates with advance materials are some of the trends towards which the cutting tool industry is progressing. Our activities are in sync with these customer needs.
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